Consumers Options for Payment Assistance
With colder temperatures around the corner, many Ohioans are exploring options so they will stay warm during the winter heating season. The Office of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio offers information to help consumers stay connected this winter.
Budget billing programs allow consumers who are current on their payments to spread the amount they owe over a 12-month period. Consumers should contact their gas (Domion East Ohio Gas) company to inquire about how to participate.
When facing disconnection, consumers can propose to the company a payment plan that works best for them. Contact Dominion East Ohio to arrange such a payment plan.
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
HEAP is a federally funded program administered by the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD). It is designed to help eligible low-income Ohioans meet the high costs of home heating. In most cases, HEAP issues a one-time credit to eligible parties energy supplier to be applied to their utility bill. To learn more, view Energy Assistance Programs.
Percentage of Income Payment Plan Plus (PIPP Plus)
PIPP Plus allows eligible customers to make affordable monthly energy payments on a year-round basis. When a PIPP Plus household pays its monthly PIPP Plus payment on-time and in-full, some of their old debt and the rest of that month’s bill goes away in the form of a credit on their utility account. To learn more, view Energy Assistance Programs.
Winter Crisis Program
A special component of HEAP, the Winter Crisis Program (WCP), is administered by community action agencies throughout Ohio. The WCP provides assistance once per heating season to eligible low-income households that are disconnected, threatened with disconnection or have less than a 10-day supply of bulk fuel. For further information, contact your local community action agency. Fore more information, view Individual Energy Assistance Programs and Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies.
Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP)
Ohio's Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP) is a federally funded low-income residential energy efficiency program. The program reduces low-income households' energy use, thus creating more affordable housing for those in most need. Services include attic, wall and basement insulation; blower-door-guided air leakage reduction; heating system repairs or replacements; and health and safety testing and inspections. All measures are provided based on an on-site energy audit and on cost-effective guidelines developed using the NEAT computerized energy audit. Individualized client education is an important component of the program. To learn more, view Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP).
Dominion East Ohio Energyshare Program
The Dominion East Ohio EnergyShare program is designed to provide fuel assistance to pay for any type of winter heating bill. To qualify for the program, customers must live within the Dominion service territory, must demonstrate a personal or family crisis and is a program of last resort. An individual must a have a termination notice or have service currently terminated. To receive assistance, the applicant must have their name on the utility account or live at the listed residence. Applications are available after December 31. For more information, contact your local Salvation Army or Dominion East Ohio at (800) 362-7557.
The HeatShare programs are administered by the Salvation Army to help qualifying households pay for natural gas bills. These programs typically run from January until May, or until funds are depleted. For more information about the HeatShare program or to receive assistance, please contact your local Salvation Army.
Extended Payment Plans
PUCO-regulated gas and electric companies have the following extended payment plans available to help you to make affordable payments and maintain service:
- The one-third plan, or Winter Heating Season Plan, is only offered from November 1 to April 15 and requires you to pay 1/3 of your total account balance each month.
- The one-sixth plan requires you to pay six equal monthly payments on your past due amount in addition to your current monthly bill.
- The one-ninth plan requires you to pay nine equal monthly payments on your past due amount in addition to your current monthly bill.
These plans are available to all residential customers regardless of income. For more information, contact your utility company. You may also call the PUCO toll-free: Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., EST.
Phone: 800-686-PUCO (800-686-7826) (voice)
Other Phone: 7-1-1 (TDD)
Some utility companies may offer other emergency assistance plans. For more information, please contact your utility company.
Energy Assistance for Military Personnel and Their Families
The Patriot Plan, a program providing protections and benefits to military personnel and their families, can assist qualifying customers with maintaining utility service while serving on active duty. Under the plan, Ohio’s natural gas and electric utilities cannot disconnect the residential utility service of any military reservist or National Guardsman deployed on active duty for nonpayment.
Upon return from active duty, utility companies must offer customers a period of time equal to the length of their deployment to pay any arrearages that may have accumulated. Additional time may be requested by a customer if the amount in arrearages presents a hardship. Utility companies are also prohibited from charging any late payment fees or interest to qualifying customers during the period of deployment or the repayment period.
The Patriot Plan does not apply to career active-duty military personnel serving their regular tour of duty. For additional information regarding this benefit, contact your local utility company or the PUCO at 800-686-PUCO (800-686-7826).